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4.6 out of 5 stars33
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Hazel Soan's Watercolour Rainbow is essentially a book of colour theory using watercolours.

The first part of the book covers tips on understanding colours and their characteristics, pigments, transparency and opacity and mixing colours. The other half looks at each of the main colours individually.

As a book on colours, it does not feel as comprehensive as other books, such as the Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color. For example, the it only mentions in passing the colour schemes, e.g. complementary, analogous, etc.

The weak part of the book is probably much of the talking about techniques, the mixing and blending, do not come with demonstration of the technique itself.

There are many wonderful watercolour artworks accompanying the text but you won't know how to create them. Hazel Soan provides you with the ingredients, the specific colours she uses, but leaves out the instructional bits.

In general, this book is just a selection of colour tips. The examples are fantastic, but I wished I could have learned more. I did pick up some useful tips that made me realised that I've been mixing and using some of the colours wrong. So now I can make use of colours that I haven't been using much.

But if you really want a book on colours, I recommending checking out Watercolor Artist's Guide to Exceptional Color and Making Colour Sing as well.

(See more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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on 28 February 2014
I have several of Hazel Soan's books and a DVD and have been really looking forward to this book. There are some lovely paintings which I will attempt to practise. There is advice on colour mixing but hardly any on the actual technique of painting. I can't see how this book could really help someone to improve their work. I've given it three stars because it's well produced and the paintings are great. But not much instruction. So quite disappointed really.

I have decided to add to this review. I was initially disappointed with the book probably in hindsight because it was not quite what I was expecting. But the colour theory is very useful. I think probably because I am a less experienced painter I am not quite ready for this more advanced way of thinking about colour. I do have a problem with colours turning to mud in my paintings. And Hazel has explained how this can come about by using the wrong mix of colours. And explains about opaque and transparent.
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on 13 February 2014
This is an inspirational book for all watercolour artists from beginners to professionals. A must read. Hazel explores every aspect of colour mixing, characteristics of pigment, transparency and opacity and advice on colour combinations to create a vibrant and exciting painting. All her advice is combined with an astonishing variety of art work which will provide something for everyone. It has been written and prepared with a great deal of thought and a genuine love of watercolour. Hazel is extremely generous with her knowledge and this book is proof of her expertise and talent which she is so keen to share with others. A fantastic book and well deserves five stars.
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on 24 May 2014
Hazel knows the old rules so well, she automatically integrates them into a new style, without you knowing how well she uses light and colour mixing. She has a light but knowledgeable touch. There is nothing to dislike.
When you immediately try it out, it works, and you like it, but also realize it is cleverly thought about and planned prior to brush on paper. If you remember the old days where you were told to grasp the brush by the top third of the handle and stand back away from your pallet, do breath new air, and paint with freedom.
Parts of a painting not in great detail, ask the brain to fill in for itself. Much more satisfying when looking at the work.
The book is to be recommended to all, beginner, or well and long immersed in "how to paint." Try it.
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on 4 March 2014
I loved the concept of Hazel's new book in which she discusses the technicalities of individual watercolour paints, expanding on the concepts of transparent & opaque, staining & non staining & suggesting effective colour combinations. This is not really a book aimed at the novice; the same author has numerous books eg "10 minute watercolours" & "what shall I paint" which aim to teach the basics. This book aims to build on those basics to enhance the experience of using watercolour paint, based on the author's comprehensive knowledge of her subject. The book is clearly written and beautifully illustrated and anyone who reads it will be better informed and inspired by her obvious passion for painting
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on 21 February 2014
I do love Hazel Soan's work and this is a nice book, but it wasn't really what I was expecting. I think it was a little bit repetitive of her other books, and I would have preferred some more pieces to try with some step by step instructions, as I've seen in Jean Haines brilliant book on Atmospheric Waterclours. Having said that, it's still a great book to have in your collection, will be useful to many, and I think Hazel Soan's style is wonderful.
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on 29 July 2015
I have now finished reading this book which is interesting and informative. This is a book which has to be concentrated on and due to the faintness of the print I found it tiring on my eyes even in good daylight. My other book on colour is that by Sandrine Maugy, the content of which is better laid out and the print much easier to read.
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on 17 July 2014
For me, this is the best book of watercolour painting that I have read, and I have read a lot.
The explanations of the uses for the different pigments & their properties are excellent.
Good reminders for experienced artists and highly recommended for any serious beginner.
Maggie E
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on 3 March 2014
An excellent book which I have already found extremely useful and learned much from. It has made me rethink my pallette and the way it is organised. The book is as always delightfully illustrated with Hazel's own work which are an inspiration and demonstrate here points admirably
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on 13 November 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and used it as the basis of some experimentation mixing watercolour "wet into wet" The author makes the techniques look easy, but like so many other art forms, "practice makes perfect".
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